When the members of Steel Magnolia agreed to join Reba McEntire on her All the Women I Am tour, they certainly didn’t count on vocalist Meghan Linsey having to handle the microphone alone while her partner, Joshua Scott Jones, entered rehab to deal with alcohol and substance abuse issues.

But as Linsey made clear in a recent interview, she and Jones are no strangers to struggle — and her long-standing admiration for Reba meant that she and the band would fulfill their touring obligations, no matter what. 

“It’s just exciting to be asked to do something monumental,” said Linsey of the invitation to join the tour. “I’m excited to be out with a woman, especially a strong woman in country music, to be able to learn and observe and take it all in. I’ve been a Reba fan since I was a little girl. The first cassette tape I ever bought with my own money was a Reba tape — mostly because I liked her hair on the front cover. It’s interesting to come full circle.”

Looking back on Steel Magnolia’s early breakthrough on the ‘Can You Duet?’ competition series, Linsey mused on the disappointments she and Jones weathered beforehand. “We were so busy playing shows that we wanted something to happen so bad, so I think we were ready for it,” she explained. “I think at that point, we were at the end of our rope. We had tried everything, so we tried out, not expecting anything, really. And we got through and kept getting through.”

And as tough as things might be right now, Linsey remembers that it wasn’t so long ago that she and Jones didn’t have much more than a dream. “There was a time a couple of years ago when we were heating our apartment with our oven,” she pointed out. “It just takes time, and we’ve had to struggle as much as 90 percent of songwriters in Nashville — that’s just part of the deal. You’ve just got to keep faith, really.”

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